Fun Ways to Help Kids Understand Bible Stories

For thousands of years, children have been told the stories in the Bible. In many times and places, the surroundings in Bible stories were very similar to the way the children hearing the stories were still living. For today’s children, there is very little in the surroundings of Bible stories that is similar to today.

Young children don’t really understand what they haven’t seen or experienced. When they picture the stories in the world they know, they don’t make much sense. Why would the bridesmaids be so upset about being out of oil for their lamps? What does that mean anyway? Why didn’t they just turn on the lights?

Or perhaps, your students don’t have the life experience to appreciate the dynamics of a story. To a small child, Goliath’s height, even in our measurements, means nothing. Small children who have no siblings may struggle understanding the stories involving sibling conflict.

Children can also become confused with Bible stories because they are concrete thinkers. They don’t really understand abstract concepts. Analogies can confuse them more than they help.

Two things happen when children become confused by aspects of a Bible story.

  • They stop listening as they try to puzzle through the things confusing them.
  • They miss the deeper, richer meanings behind many stories.

Neither of those things are desirable if we want to help young people really understand scripture. So what are some fun ways to overcome these hindrances to understanding?

  • Reproductions and photos. You can purchase replicas of items like oil lamps and shofars online for not much money. Or show them photos of things that may be unfamiliar to them.
  • Physical examples. You will need a little knowledge of ratios for this. The height of Goliath is hard to recreate with real people. What you can do is calculate the ratio of the heights of Goliath and the probable height of David. Then bring in the largest man in your congregation and a child that would be the right height in the ratio. You can explain both were probably several feet taller, but it helps kids visual the difference in the heights. Showing them examples of things they know that are similar to things in the Bible story can help.
  • Experiences. Learning about Rebekah watering the camels? Nothing makes students appreciate the work and servant heart she must have had more than using gallon water jugs (leave the caps on) and pretending to water fake (or real if you have them!) camels. There are so many experiences in the Bible you can help replicate for your Bible students (our website is full of more ideas).
  • Drama. Seeing the story acted out before their eyes can help student understanding. Dramas that allow the students to be part of the action work best. Just remember, if you use drama every week, students will eventually find it boring and stop paying attention.

It’s worth the extra time and effort it takes to help your Bible students understand the stories you are telling better. Otherwise, they may just leave your room confused.

Categories Bible, Elementary, Preschool
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